Lord Young bows to the inevitable

Tory peer resigns as Cameron's enterprise adviser after "never had it so good" gaffe.

Lord Young has bowed to the inevitable and resigned as David Cameron's enterprise adviser. He was never likely to last long after his politically toxic claim that the majority of people "have never had it so good".

His downfall is a reminder of the irony that politicians often suffer most not when they lie, but when they tell the truth. The Conservative peer was right to point out how those with tracker mortgages have benefited from the lowest interest-rates on record. His mistake was to display no awareness of those who did suffer during the recession and those who will suffer more during the cuts. His reference to the "so-called recession" and his claim that "people will wonder what all the fuss was about", suggest that he inhabits a different planet from the rest of us.

But on a purely political level, his greatest error was his failure to anticipate how swiftly the Labour attack machine would pounce on his comments. One senses that Young, an unelected peer, is simply not cut out for the world of 24-hour media.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Gordon Brown contemplated making Alastair Campbell a minister

The move is revealed in Ed Balls' new book.

Gordon Brown contemplated making Alastair Campbell, a sports minister. Campbell had served as Tony Blair’s press chief from 1994 to 2003, Ed Balls has revealed.

Although the move fell through, Campbell would have been one of a number of high-profile ministerial appointments, usually through the Lords, made by Brown during his tenure at 10 Downing Street.

Other unusual appointments included the so-called “Goats” appointed in 2007, part of what Brown dubbed “the government of all the talents”, in which Ara Darzi, a respected surgeon, Mark Malloch-Brown, formerly a United Nations diplomat,  Alan West, a former admiral, Paul Myners, a  successful businessman, and Digby Jones, former director-general of the CBI, took ministerial posts and seats in the Lords. While Darzi, West and Myners were seen as successes on Whitehall, Jones quit the government after a year and became a vocal critic of both Brown’s successors as Labour leader, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

The story is revealed in Ed Balls’ new book, Speaking Out, a record of his time as a backroom adviser and later Cabinet and shadow cabinet minister until the loss of his seat in May 2015. It is published 6 September.